Is There an Increased Familial Prevalence of Psychopathology in Children With Nonverbal Learning Disorders?
The cognitive and behavioral symptoms of nonverbal learning disabilities (NLD) have been described by previous investigators. Nevertheless, we know far less about the potential genetic contributions that may predispose a child to have NLD. An endophenotype model was investigated in 5 samples of children ages 9 to 15 years: NLD (n = 32); reading disorders (RD; n = 59); participants with a psychiatric diagnosis but without a learning disability (n = 55); typically developing controls (n = 31); and children with velocardiofacial syndrome (VCFS), a chromosomal deletion syndrome that has been proposed as being an exemplar of NLD (VCFS + NLD; n = 20). Based on a family genetic interview, the authors’ data suggest that children with NLD, RD, or a psychiatric diagnosis have a higher prevalence rate of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and substance abuse/dependence. Psychiatric controls and children with NLD—but not children with RD— showed higher prevalence rates of familial bipolar disorder.